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Monitoring the Mocks

Could Hightower be Ray Lewis' eventual replacement?

Who will the Ravens take in the First Round?

It’s a question that’s been debated to death for the last several months.

The Ravens recent free agent activity may help make their draft strategy a least a little clearer to the experts. Let’s see what they had to say about who wears purple in 2012.

Dane Brugler, CBS Sports
Posted March 19
C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
“Even with 14-year veteran center Matt Birk re-upping with the team, the Ravens could still take a long look at the Wisconsin pivot who can also play guard. He has the skill-set to play any of the interior line positions and is clearly the top center in this draft class. Konz would be able to fill the hole left by Ben Grubs before moving back to his natural spot at center when Birk hangs it up.

Pat Kirwan, CBS Sports
Posted March 12
LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
“It is time to develop the heir apparent to Ray Lewis. Hightower is a classic middle linebacker type who can play alongside Ray for a year or two and then take over.”

Matt Vensel, Baltimore Sun
Posted March 21
LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
“Smart, disciplined and instinctive, Hightower can be plugged in next to Ray Lewis right away.”
Posted March 21
C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
“I have to believe the Ravens will draft Peter Konz if he’s available. He’ll probably be the top prospect on the board, and he fits the blocking scheme perfectly. He also would fill a big need. Matt Birk won’t be playing for much longer, so Baltimore needs a successor. In the meantime, Konz can play at guard as Ben Grubbs’ replacement.”

Wes Bunting, National Football Post
Posted March 21
LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College
Junior; 6-3, 235; 191 tackles, three interceptions
“A tackling machine with good size, natural instincts and above-average athleticism. Is the kind of talent the Ravens could use inside as an eventual replacement for Ray Lewis.”

Chad Reuter,
Posted March 20
S Mark Barron, Alabama
Senior; 6-1, 223; 68 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery
“Losing Tom Zbikowski to the Colts puts finding a young safety near the top of the priority list. Barron’s been considered the best of a weak class at the position most of the year and should seal that grade with a strong pro day workout at the end of the month.”

Bucky Brooks,
Posted March 16
LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
“It is time for the Ravens to find a viable replacement for Ray Lewis. Hightower is a natural leader with a multi-faceted skill set that brings an added dimension to the Ravens’ 3-4.”

Charley Casserly,
Posted March 21
LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
Junior; 6-3, 266; 85 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception
“Time to develop a replacement for Ray Lewis.”

Peter Schrager, FOX Sports
Posted March 21
LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
“The Ravens lost a longtime reliable cog in Jarret Johnson this week. Ray Lewis isn’t getting any younger, either. It’s time to upgrade at the linebacker spot. If Hightower — the third-rated inside linebacker talent on my board — is available, they should go ahead and grab him.

“A tackling machine out of Nick Saban’s defensive star factory down in Tuscaloosa, he could make an impact right away. And remember, Ozzie Newsome is an Alabama guy, too.”

Rob Rang, CBS Sports
Posted March 19
OG Cordy Glenn, Georgia
Senior; 6-5, 346, 14 starts
“At first glance, the Ravens aren’t likely to find a prospect at this point capable of making up for the loss of free agent Ben Grubbs. In the massive Glenn, however, general manager Ozzie Newsome might once again find a falling star who could help immediately. Glenn’s versatility and durability was proven over his four starting seasons in the SEC but scouts would like to see him play with a little more nastiness.”

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